Intel kills off Optane Memory business with $559m loss
Intel CEO Pate Gelsinger has confirmed that the chip giant is ending its Optane business with a $559 million write-off.
Optane Memory was Intel’s attempt to create a tier of memory that offered the performance of a hard disk drive (HDD) with the speed of a solid state drive (SSD).
Unfortunately, Intel’s plans have been hampered by a number of setbacks, including the sell off of its production facilities for 3D XPoint, the technology that underpins Optane.
The news of its end came in a vague note within Intel’s Q2 earnings report, which was then later confirmed by Gelsinger on an earnings call, according to Tom’s Hardware.
The reason for ending its work on Optane has been blamed on an industry shift to CXL-based architectures, which is similar to the sentiments made by Intel’s former partner Micron when it too abandoned the Optane business last year. Micron was a high-volume fabricator of 3D XPoint until it decided to end its work with Intel back in 2018.
Intel was using Optane memory for both storage and memory products. When it first debuted in 2015, both Intel and Micron suggested Optane would deliver 100 times the performance of NAND storage and 10 times the density of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), thanks to the underlying 3D XPoint architecture.
There is still potential for Intel to sell off its remaining Optane business to another company, as it did with both its NAND and SSD units. The chip giant has also sold off other non-core segments of its business, such as its drone division, as part of plans to streamline its operation under Gelsinger’s leadership.
“We further sharpened our focus in Q2 selling our drone business and making the difficult decision to wind down our efforts in Optane as we embrace CXL, a standard which Intel Corporation pioneered,” Gelsinger said according to The Motley Fool. “We have now exited six businesses since my return.”
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